Miller unveils bipartisan bill to guarantee free rape kits for survivors

Rep. Carol Miller

U.S. Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) on Sept. 19 introduced legislation that would ensure patients with private health insurance receive free forensic medical exams, which are commonly known as rape kits. 

“This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will protect victims and ensure no woman who experiences sexual violence has to pay a dime for a forensic medical exam,” said Rep. Miller, who signed on as an original cosponsor of the bill.

If enacted, the No Surprises for Survivors Act, H.R. 8891, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), would require private insurers to provide coverage, without cost-sharing, for forensic medical exams regardless of where they are administered, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Miller’s office.

“Sexual assault is one of the most abhorrent acts of violence a woman can experience,” said Rep. Miller. “It is unacceptable for any sexual assault victim to receive a bill for a forensic medical exam, which is critical to ensuring their recovery and collecting any evidence needed for an investigation.”

Among other provisions, H.R. 8891 would specify that if an individual receives a forensic medical exam where the state is responsible for the out-of-pocket costs associated with the exam, then private insurers must provide appropriate notice to help victims avoid bills and streamline the reimbursement process, the summary says.

“No one should have to worry about getting a surprise bill in the mail, especially following a traumatic experience like a sexual assault. Unfortunately, many survivors still find themselves stuck with unexpected charges,” said Rep. Sánchez. “Our bipartisan bill will help right that wrong, ensuring more survivors have access to the care they need and deserve.”

The bill has been referred to three U.S. House of Representatives’ committees for consideration: Energy and Commerce; Education and Labor; and Ways and Means.